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IBM Research

IBM Research - Almaden

Unified Activity Management - Integrating Collaborative Work and Business Processes


Human activities are represented in business applications at best as ad hoc and localized constructs. Platforms for supporting business processes and activities will greatly benefit from a unified activity construct. Such a construct will enable a new degree of business integration, easier collaboration, capture of business practice, and more effective business process evolution. The goal of Unified Activity Management is to create a unified representation for human activities, both informal and formal, that supports the aggregation of system resources to support the activities, the creation and evolution of activity patterns, and interaction with formal business process workflows.


  • Organize everyday work in terms of user-meaningful business Activities, not computer applications or artifacts
  • Represent business Activities to guide, support, and coordinate work but not overly constrain it
  • Capture, reuse, and evolve best practices in Activity Patterns

    UAM Figure 1
  • Integrate informal, ad hoc business activities and formal, workflow-driven business processes

    UAM Figure 2

For the Individual
  • Manage diverse activities efficiently in a uniform manner
  • Flexibly restructure work to adapt to contingencies

For the Team
  • Improve awareness and coordination across teams and to management
  • Reuse prior work cases and best practice work patterns

For the Enterprise
  • Refine processes by monitoring and analyzing what really happens
  • Embed best practices in activity patterns that improve work and organizational learning
  • Capture activity-based audit trails

Research Contacts:

  • Tom Moran (, Almaden Research Center (San Jose, CA)
  • Dan Gruen (, Watson Research Center (Cambridge, MA)

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